A Look At Starlux Airlines’ Business Class Menu

Filed Under: Other Airlines

Update: See here for a review of Starlux Airlines Lounge in Taipei, and see here for my review of Starlux Airlines’ A321neo business class.

Starlux is the new Taipei-based “luxury” airline that is launching operations in January. They just began selling tickets at the beginning of the week, and I’ve already booked my roundtrip ticket on them from Taipei to Penang, which cost ~$1,000 in business class.

It goes without saying that I’m extremely interested in what their soft product is like, and can’t wait for this flight. One thing that makes Starlux unique is that they let you fully pre-order your meals.

We’re not just talking about selecting a main course, but the customization goes beyond that, as you can even select your appetizer (it reminds me of Oman Air’s “Service By Design” concept in first class, though Starlux doesn’t let you customize quite to that level).

So I figured I’d share what the menu looks like for my roundtrip journey from Taipei to Penang.

Starlux Airlines lets you select your meal either at the time you book (starting 60 days in advance), or you can go back into your reservation up until 24 hours before departure to choose what you want to eat.

So let’s take a look at the options:

Starlux Airlines’ Business Class Menu — Taipei To Penang

On the 4hr40min flight from Taipei to Penang departing at 9:20AM, there are three options to choose from:

Exclusive International: Roast Chicken Normandy Style

MISE EN BOUCHE

BREAD SELECTION

STARTER
Cream Pumpkin Soup
OR
Green Kale Salad, Smoked Salmon, Blue Cheese

MAIN
Roast Chicken Normandy Style, Apple Cider Relish, Fondant Potato

SWEET FINISH
Pink Guava Mousse

SEASONAL FRESH FRUIT

FINE CHEESE
Morbier AOP, Brie, Apple Chutney

Exclusive International: Grilled US Short Rib Steak

MISE EN BOUCHE

BREAD SELECTION

STARTER
Cream Pumpkin Soup
OR
Green Kale Salad, Smoked Salmon, Blue Cheese

MAIN
Grilled U.S. Short Rib Steak, Yorkshire Pudding, Roasted Garlic

SWEET FINISH
Pink Guava Mousse

SEASONAL FRESH FRUIT

FINE CHEESE
Morbier AOP, Brie, Apple Chutney

Contemporary Asian: Starlux X Longtail Taipei

MISE EN BOUCHE

DRINK PAIRING
Mekong Mule

STARTER
“Banh mi” Paté, Sourdough, House Pickles

MAIN
Taiwanese Black Pork, Lemongrass, Nuoc Mam, Rice Noodle, Herbs

SWEET FINISH
Kaya Panna Cotta, Soy CaramelSEASONAL FRESH FRUIT

FINE CHEESE
Morbier AOP, Brie, Apple Chutney

Starlux Airlines’ Business Class Menu — Penang To Taipei

On the 4hr45min flight from Penang to Taipei departing at 3PM, there are three menu options to choose from:

Exclusive International: Grilled Australian Beef Tenderloin

MISE EN BOUCHE

BREAD SELECTION

STARTER
Grilled Prawn, Avocado, Citrus Dressing
OR
Button And Shiitake Mushroom Soup

MAIN
Grilled Australian Beef Tenderloin, Cauliflower Puree, Seasonal Vegetables

SWEET FINISH
Pear and Peach Mousse Cake

SEASONAL FRESH FRUIT

FINE CHEESE
Gouda, Fourme d’Ambert Cheese, Prune Chutney

Exclusive International: Spiced Duck Breast, Cranberry Compote

BREAD SELECTION

STARTER
Grilled Prawn, Avocado, Citrus Dressing
OR
Button And Shiitake Mushroom Soup

MAIN
Spiced Duck Breast, Cranberry Compote, Pear

SWEET FINISH
Pear and Peach Mousse Cake

SEASONAL FRESH FRUIT

FINE CHEESE
Gouda, Fourme d’Ambert Cheese, Prune Chutney

Authentic Asian: Grilled Red Snapper, Laksa Noodle Soup

MISE EN BOUCHE

STARTER
Satay Chicken Skewer
Grilled Scallop Cellophane Noodles
Rojak

MAIN
Grilled Red Snapper, Laksa Noodle Soup

SWEET FINISH
Nyonya Cake

FINE CHEESE
Morbier AOP, Brie, Apple Chutney

Bottom Line

I’m impressed by the (hopefully accurate) pictures that they have online of what the food will look like, which you don’t often see from airlines. I also like that you can pre-order your meal fully, which probably comes in handy with just eight business class seats, since I can otherwise seem them running out of options.

That being said, otherwise the menu sounds good/fine, and not like anything that noteworthy? As I’ve said from the beginning, the issue is that both China Airlines and EVA Air are exceptional, so it’ll be tough for Starlux Airlines to stand out that much out of Taipei.

I know I’ll be ordering the laksa on the return, though I’m not sure about the outbound. I don’t eat pork, I generally try to avoid beef (especially short rib), so I guess that leaves chicken normandy?

What do you make of Starlux Airlines’ business class menu?

Comments
  1. The meals do look laid out in a practical manner as to be realistic – the hot ones just toss in the oven, and the cold one sprinkle the leaves on.

    Also, the rock-shaped salt/pepper shakers in the background remind me of the old CX ones that would regularly be taken as souvenirs. They should probably expect people to be pinching a few of those.

  2. lack of vegetarian option is intriguing. With a huge vegetarian/vegan/Buddhist vegan population in TPE I am surprised that they do not introduce any gourmet offerings catered to them.

  3. Not sure where your fascination of random startups stems from. I hope you get a fair compensation for the attention you are giving them. Otherwise, who on earth would care for meals on an airline they are never going to fly anyways, e.g. no alliances, miles, points, status, likely not even bookable through corporate travel etc etc

  4. Flieger,

    It’ll surprise you I’m sure to find out that some people don’t actually choose travel arrangements solely because of points/mile. Considering Starlux is probably the first major new airline launch in quite sometime that is not an LCC/ULCC, it is interesting to see how their service is and how things fare for them.

  5. @Flieger

    From the looks of things, they could potentially they could join Oneworld.

    @Sean S.
    Hold your horses, I don’t think this is anything major yet. Let’s just leave that until all their A350 fly permanent routes for a year. We might still see Delta scoop up the A350s.

  6. I don’t understand the hype about China Airlines. These things look AMAZING compared to the crap, I meant the barely-passable-as-business-class, that China Airlines served me on their SFO-TPE route. And their phone service was rude. Their onboard service was also barely passable.

  7. Doesn’t look good to me. Seems to have the same philosophy as BR which is to somehow be ashamed of Chinese food on International flights and to serve only western dishes and westernized “Pan-Asian” dishes. Annoys the hell out of me with BR, and it doesn’t help that the food is bad . . . the only business class flights I have gone hungry unable to find anything to eat (and I can find something to eat even on CX).

  8. Two nothing-new Western options and one so-called “Pan-Asian option” that looks like $10-20 fast-casual American-Asian option at best to me lol. Probably those Taiwanese punks who’d never travelled beyond a 4-hr flight away from home, or those so-called “digital nomads” in Penang who are done with Asian food but can’t afford going home would love to see this…

    Now the question is, can they afford a biz class ticket?

  9. @Mak – Exactly. None of these dishes seem authentic to me. They are more like what you can find in Asian infused restaurants in the states instead of real Taiwanese restaurants.

  10. I still can’t see the viability of this business model. A Premium Service carrier flying to leisure/low yield destinations.

  11. @Johnny,

    Given the amount of rich aviation geeks in TW and neighboring states, it won’t be surprising to see their 188-seaters being completely full for the first few weeks (with only 8 in the front cabin). And that neither disproves my point nor counters my unimpression with respect to their indifferent catering choices.

    On the other hand, given the smaller market size and lower premium demand of TPE comparing to other major East Asian hubs (probably better than Osaka if you count that as a major hub), I am not so sure about the viability of this hyped-up airline under its current business model. The civil aviation market in TW is already facing over-competition from domestic and neighboring competitors. Having another full-service intercontinental airline that brands themselves as the highest-end player in TW? I seriously wish them good luck. Hopefully they won’t burn out of cash before receiving their first widebody in 2021.

  12. Hi Lucky,

    For reference, Oman Air’s Service by Design concept was pulled like the week after you reviewed their F product. Have also been various other cuts like the Cristal being dropped too. Is basically back to being a mediocre F again.

  13. It will be interesting to see what the service/ meals are like in reality, so far they seem very organised and the choices reasonable, but nowadays it seems a vegetarian option is the new standard, I look forward to seeing your review as usual – and agree, not everyone flies on points/miles, there are some of us that pay with coin !

  14. @Flieger,

    This is not just some random startup. This is a Shakepearean-esque revenge plan by the ousted EVA chairman, son of the late EVA founder, who lost out in a bitter intra-family legal battle to control EVA. It’s going to be interesting to see what difference an airline could be when run by someone passionate and risking all to bring it to the top.

  15. Why does this Taiwanese airline have zero Taiwanese dishes? This looks like a Delta One menu.

    Asians seem obsessed with appealing to Westerners when they should be celebrating their own cultures—especially on these leisure routes.

    Let me guess, Rimowa amenity kit? L’Occitane toiletries? French wines? Advertisements with a white guy in a suit?

  16. @NRT – American aid and presence in Asia post-WW2 basically set a brainwashing tone in Asia that the West is always better and always more progressive. My parents’ generation have all experienced fawning over canned peaches and things like that.. Uncle Sam and the West in general, all peddled that thing about superiority, as did the local authorities who want their money. So if you’re from the West and you don’t like this, the blame firmly rests on you guys and your elder statesmen/businessmen… 😛

    I avoid both EVA and China Airlines (they both feel like amateurs) so I look forward to Starlux.

    How viable Starlux is doesn’t matter. At worst it’ll be absorbed into EVA which gives the guy a way back in. The hypothetical best scenario is he’s the upper hand in a merger with EVA. Whichever way he wants to play this, he’ll want to have an airline. Kudos to him.

  17. China Airlines is exceptional?! Is @lucky drunk or buzzed everything he flies China Airlines? Flight after flight, China Airlines is just barely OK at best. They are always late that they might as well change their slogan to “always late”, such that the the “apologize for the delay” PA is so fluently practiced by the crew. Their planes are very very old except a few 777/350. On the older widebodies, the 330 and 4 747s, which is the backbone of CI, seats are incredibly cramped together. Giant AVOD boxes on every row, wipe out easily 1/3 of your foot space. Seatbacks are rock hard and they are some of the most uncomfortable seats in the sky. Just it happens, I flew on their 737 a week ago (as the only CI fleet type that I haven’t flown) and it was incredibly uncomfortable… Even an American Airlines’ retrofitted 737 is more comfortable. On the newer 777/350, they oddly decide to go opposite of most airlines by designing and keeping the cabin extremely dark with depressing lighting and color, like a flying dungeon. To make the matter worse, crews are training to close the window shades constantly… Try to fill out a custom/landing form, well ya can’t , cause you can’t see the form clearly. The newer 777/350 also sports the latest pro-airline slim seats, with terrible and atrocious back and lumbar support. I leave everyone of those flights with sore neck or back… China Airlines is exceptional,…, exceptionally terrible and painful, maybe…

  18. @stratified US aid is the only reason you know what an airport even looks like. Or have the freedom to write that snivelingly ignorant post.

  19. @will I flew CI on HKGTPE and LAXTPE several times on economy. It was ok, I didn’t feel their seats particularly uncomfortable. Service was nice and food was acceptable. The cabin crew was never rude.

  20. @D4towards I fly them almost weekly… Their aircraft, especially those configured for regional flights are so incredibly uncomfortable, which is a widely agreed observation. The seats are very hard and padding very thin. The only decent plane is the renovated A330, which is just a small few out of their fleet CI planned, announced but suddenly stopped the renovation of A330. I am glad you seem to like CI. I recommend you try the likes of Korean Air, Delta, Cathay and even American Airlines and you will realize how much more comfortable their seats are.
    When there are other experience to reference, I think you would agree with my observations.

    Also, CI’s new A350/B777 has rows and rows and rows of Family Couch economy seat but they are rarely sold as such, which means the flap is not deployed (not flipped out) and thus reducing lower leg room by 2-3 inches on those economy row, which were only 31 inches to start with. Sadly, those are the mid-cabin “preferred” seats given to frequent flyers.

    Also, CI makes way way too many announcements that prevent you to get any decent rest. Everything is announced in Mandarin, English, destination language, and Taiwanese. I speak several languages, so I usually get sick of hearing the announcement 3 or 4 times…on every announcement. On a short flight like HKGTPE, you have about 10 mins of quiet time… Even more silly, they keep playing Taiwanese custom/immigration videos when they land into a foreign country, which means they are providing completely irrelevant information to their passengers 50% of the times.

    CI is known to have prettier cabin crew over that of EVA, some of them are not nice and kind of rude – the more you fly the more you will notice this. By all means, CI is not bottom of the barrel, but it’s definitely not exceptional. EVA is far superior than CI.

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